Blog Tour: The Rent Collector

The Rent CollectorThe Rent Collector
by Camron Wright
Adult Fiction
September 2012 by Shadow Mountain


Survival for Ki Lim and Sang Ly is a daily battle at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living scavenging recyclables from the trash. Life would be hard enough without the worry for their chronically ill child, Nisay, and the added expense of medicines that are not working. Just when things seem worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the ill-tempered rent collector who comes demanding money--a secret that sets in motion a tide that will change the life of everyone it sweeps past. The Rent Collector is a story of hope, of one woman’s journey to save her son and another woman’s chance at redemption. It demonstrates that even in a dump in Cambodia--perhaps especially in a dump in Cambodia--everyone deserves a second chance.


My Review

This is the third book I have read from this author and every single one has surprised me, in a good way. The Rent Collecter was no exception. It is such a difficult story in so many ways, but then also one filled with all these touching moments and self-discovery for the main character, bringing her understanding and hope.

There is just an almost lyrical way in which the author writes that I thoroughly enjoyed. I also liked that I didn't feel like he was pushing an agenda or his characters from one place to another. Like his other books, I felt like I had stepped directly into the character's story. Everything felt authentic and without sugar-coating.

There are some very sad and even some brief violent parts in this book. The MC lives in a dump in Cambodia with her husband and ailing infant son. Their situation is fairly desperate in many ways. There are terrible things that happen and living is done one day at a time. I just kept thinking how grateful I was to have what I do and to live when and where I do. 

There are also some very sweet moments. Moments of friendship, learning, joy, and hope. It was amazing to see how the Rent Collector changed in the eyes of the MC, Sang Ly, and those who were acquainted with her.

I loved all of the references to various literature (and the acknowledgement in the back that the author makes to the literature quoted). There were several places where stories were used to challenge the MC's thinking, which then also challenges the reader, such as the story of Captain Ahab and the whale from Moby Dick. It's amazing how that story was related to this one. I loved how Sang Ly and Sopeap build a relationship as they study together. I loved the ways that Sang Ly's learning and reading were woven into the story.

There are so many parts that I loved and would like to quote. Here are a few:
     I pretend the clock is ticking softly in the darkness, counting down the hours, the minutes, the seconds. I told Ki I wanted to hang the clock on our wall because I liked its flowered face–but that's not exactly true. There is more. It helps me to remember that even though something is broken, it can still serve a purpose. Someday, if we ever have the money, I want to take it to a clock maker and have it repaired. It's silly, I know, because buying a new clock would be less expensive.
     Sometimes broken things deserve to be repaired.
     ~ p. 36
     "San Ly, we are literature–out lives, our hopes, our desires, our despairs, our passions, our strengths, our weaknesses. Stories express our longing not only to make a difference today but to see what is possible for tomorrow. Literature has been called a handbook for the art of being human.
~p. 93 
     He nods warmly. "It doesn't matter where you live, Sang Ly, it is how you live." 
     ~ p. 201
     As I near the base of the steps, adjacent to the front door, I find Ki asleep in a chair, still waiting. Of all the stories I have read about heroes, and all that I could ever read, of one thing I'm now certain–he is mine. I touch his face and he wakes up. It takes a moment for him to gather his reason, but when he does, he understands what has happened. He rises and folds his arms around me, holding me tight for a very long time.
~ p. 260
There are so many more! I also was happy that the author included some pictures of the real Stung Meanchey (the dump and setting for this story) and Sang Ly (whom the character by the same name in the story was based on). You can find out more about the real Stung Meanchey and Sang Ly at

I enjoyed almost every moment of this book, even the tough parts! It was heartbreaking and filled with desperation at times, yet, at the same time filled with hope, friendship, and joy. This is a story of looking and finding happiness and value even when everything appears otherwise. It is definitely worth the read and a book I highly recommend!!!

Content: Clean (There is some mature content, some violence, and some minor swearing, but nothing descriptive nor anything I would consider inappropriate, especially for the genre.)
Source: Publisher, which did not affect my review in any way.

About the Author

Camron Wright has a master’s degree in Writing and Public Relations. He has owned several successful retail stores, in addition to working with his wife in the fashion industry, designing for the McCall Pattern Company in New York. He currently works in public relations, marketing and design.

Camron began writing to get out of attending MBA School at the time and it proved the better decision. Letters for Emily was a “Readers Choice” award winner, as well as a selection of the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. In addition to North America, Letters for Emily was published in several foreign countries.

He lives with his wife, Alicyn, in Utah, at the base of the Wasatch mountains and is the proud father of four children.


One paperback copy of The Rent Collector (US Only)

All my usual requirements apply. Please use the rafflecopter below. Ends 11/22/13.

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